Friends and family gathered in a crowded yet brief council meeting on Monday to celebrate the swearing-in of Officer Chad Smith to the Guttenberg Police Department.
At the meeting, which took place at 8 p.m. within Town Hall, the council also passed a resolution announcing the town’s participation in the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over,” campaign, which is a year-end crackdown on drunk driving.
Heightened police vigilance will take place from Monday, Dec. 5 to Sunday, Jan. 2.
According to the resolution, impaired drivers in America kill someone every 30 minutes, or approximately 50 people a day. Almost 18,000 people are killed each year. The resolution also states that 30 percent of motor vehicle fatalities in New Jersey are related to alcohol.
The veterans’ monument will be repaired.
Launched in 1999, the nationwide campaign attempts to reduce the number of deaths from impaired driving. According to the website, only one arrest is made for every 772 occurrences of driving under the influence of alcohol. Still, 1.5 million impaired drivers are arrested in the United States every year.
The department gets younger
Family and friends snapped pictures as officer Chad Smith was sworn in as a police officer. According to Mayor Gerald Drasheff, Smith came up from the Special Officer Classes, a training regiment specific to police officers in New Jersey.
“We’ve been very fortunate here in Guttenberg,” said Drasheff. “We’ve had some very fine young men and women serve this town … Chad has been an asset as a special [officer], and I’m sure that he’ll continue to be that as a fulltime [officer] here.”
Smith will undergo a 12-month probationary period beginning Thursday, Dec. 1. He must pass the physical, mental, and psychological fitness requirements as well as the New Jersey State Police training program.
A promotion ceremony with coffee and cake was held in the lunchroom following the council meeting.
A resolution was also passed announcing the retirement of Lt. Victor Conversano Jr. His retirement is effective as of the end of the calendar year.
Conversano was the creator of the Guttenberg Junior Police Academy, a week-long program aimed at instilling values and discipline in the lives of nearly 50 elementary school students from the Anna L. Klein Elementary School. He ran the program for nine years.
Through his accumulation of 126 sick days, Conversano will receive $53,326, which will be given to him in two separate payments in January 2012 and January 2013.
The council passed a resolution to award a contract to Design Decorators, Inc. of Philadelphia in the amount of $7,000. The money will go toward holiday decorations for the municipal building.
The council adopted an ordinance maintaining that licensed premises are not allowed to place any obstruction within windows that may obstruct visibility.
The meeting also saw the adoption of an ordinance adding two new positions and salary ranges. Deputy court administrator and violations clerk were added at salary ranges of $15,000 to $30,000 each.
Stephen LaMarca may be reached at email@example.com.